Uvalde boss Pete Arredondo on administrative leave after ‘not finishing’ filming
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was suspended on Wednesday, almost a month after his department screwed up the response to the Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Arredondo was supervised by Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell relieved of his duties after it was discovered police officers under his command had waited 77 minutes to confront gunman Salvador Ramos on May 24.
“From the beginning of this horrific event, I communicated that the county would wait until the investigation was complete before making any personnel decisions,” Harrell wrote in a release.
“Today, I still don’t have any details about the investigations by various authorities. Due to the remaining uncertainty and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigation, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective as of that date.”
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety testified Tuesday that Arredondo’s response was a “pathetic failure” and said the chief put the life of the cops “before the life of the children.”
“Mistakes were made, and it should never have happened that way, and we can’t let that ever happen… it set our profession back a decade,” DPS Director Steve McCraw told state senators.
Ramos had entered through an unlocked door and gained access to two adjoining classrooms, where he murdered fourth graders for well over an hour. Arredondo and his officers did not even attempt to enter the rooms until a tactical team arrived 77 minutes after the violence began, security footage showed.
McCraw told lawmakers that the nine officers present three minutes after the shooting began were numerically strong enough to “isolate, distract and neutralize the subject.”
“The officers had guns, the children didn’t. The officers wore protective vests, the children did not. Officers had training, subject had none,” McCraw testified.
Investigators said Arredondo incorrectly treated the shooting as a barricaded suspect incident, rather than a situation involving an active gunman, where the top priority is for police to confront the suspect in order to stop the violence.
Ramos was eventually killed by the police.
UCISD Lt. Mike Hernandez was scheduled to take over Arredondo’s duties on a temporary basis, Harrell said.